Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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So we are in the height of summer and loving it here on the farm. Some of the rain in early June followed by the heatwave at the end has brought out the best in the hedgerows and flower boarders. The farm, lakes and gardens are all looking lush.
We’d love you to take a minute and check out what we’ve been up to in June, opportunities for your next holiday here and things out and about to inspire you with our Cornish events July 2019 family guide.
Short Breaks from 31st August.
We have opened up the end of August into September for short breaks. I know many of you are tied to school holidays and find the mix of higher summer pricing and difficulty of taking a full week away from work a problem. A short break from 31st August could be the answer. From just over £500 you can enjoy a short break and recharge the batteries as a family ahead of the new school term.
The Royal Cornwall Show
This is always a highlight in the farming calendar. Not a week to try and reach anywhere the other side of Wadebridge as a holiday maker, but a great day out if you enjoy county shows. It is chance for Nick and I to be inspired by new ideas and we enjoyed a lovely day out there.
Foot Bridge over the Camel under repair.
Farmer Nick spotted the wood starting to rot on our foot bridge and quickly declared it out of bounds. Instead of doing the easy option of just replacing the wood, he deployed a more complicated but superior system of replacing the wood with non slip plastic decking similar to that used successfully on Heligan’s deck last year. With the help of our eldest two sons they had it all completed in a week. Not only does it look smart, but the non slip surface is much better than the old system of wood with wire mesh over the top.
We have been making bow and arrows and having fun hitting homemade targets in half term. It is always a popular activity although it does get quite competitive! If you are joining us in July I’m looking at mindfulness and the kindness trail and nature photo frames.
On the Farm June 2019
Friendly the deer gave birth to a gorgeous little fawn to set things rolling. The little one was up and running with Mum within a week delighting all who spotted her. We now know there is at least another two and are hoping there are more we haven’t yet discovered.
Turkeys on the Move
After the disaster of losing both of our Turkey chicks last month the Turkeys have begun to lay again, however it seemed the crows were the beneficiary of their efforts. Farmer Nick and the guests moved them from Jurassic Park into the old aviaries where they have plenty of space, a wilderness to chomp through and a totally enclosed home open to the elements but not the crows! Fingers crossed for good news to follow.
With the stop start rain in early to mid June, keeping the sheep dry ahead of shearing was quite challenging. We managed it with a quick team effort to lead the flock indoors ahead of another downpour. Thankfully they only had to spend one night indoors before our shearer was on hand to relieve them of their winter coats. Timing crossed perfectly with the morning feed run giving a wonderful chance for the children to stop on their rounds and watch an expert at work.
If you are feeling inspired to visit us in July, here are a few of the local activities you might want to plan your visit around.
Cornish Events July 2019 local to Coombe Mill
Cornish Events July 2019
Find out more
Distance from Coombe Mill
Classic car show with family entertainment, food stalls, bouncy castle etc
For anyone who has a desire to be at one with nature, to embrace their wild side and free their inner spirit, The Lost book of Adventure is a must have. Packed with nearly 200 illustrated pictures, this book is the ultimate survival guide for living on the wild side as far as you dare. It is written from experience and will appeal from children to adults. A lifetimes work uncovered and painstakingly re created as the bible for the adventurous. It has been heralded as “A love letter to the Wild” by The Bookseller and “Fact book of the month” by National Geographic Kids. No wonder Quarto Kids publishing are keen to share this Gem.
If you have an adventurous child in your family who enjoys campfires and den building, this is the perfect book to inspire their wild side. Read on to discover more and for your chance to win a copy.
More about the extraordinary Lost Book of Adventure
The origins of this book are quite extraordinary. I am always keen to see who the author is on a book, this one simply states “from the notebooks of the Unknown Adventurer” which had me curious. It turns out the contents of the book originate from a chest discovered in the Amazon by Teddy Keen. Notes, journals and sketchbooks have been carefully pieced together by Teddy on behalf of the unknown author to create this comprehensive resource.
The book is packed with highly illustrative tips on every aspect of outdoor survival. Whether you are wild camping, raft building, exploring off the beaten track or simply making a fire pit in the garden there is guidance here to help you. It is well laid out as a reference book for the activities you want to research and one to return to time and time again. It takes the reader right from basics like what type of knife to carry and how to hold and use it safely, to how to build a wild camp.
What we love
Sheer scale of topics covered
Written from experience
Inspires children to embrace adventure
Helpful safety tips for wild explorers
Beautiful illustrations on every page
Easy to take inspiration and apply to your own adventure
Taking inspiration from The lost Book of Adventure
It was flicking through my copy of the Lost Book of Adventure that prompted my Den building and Campfire Activity Hour session here on the farm. It was easily one of the most enjoyed sessions here and showed me just how much kids love the chance to embrace their wild side.
Need to Know
Hardback, 192 Pages, Size: 8.268 in x 10.63 in / 210 mm x 270 mm
I have posted many a times about fun family beach days; however as the childhood years slip away, the excitement of a beach trip with mum wanes. That’s OK; it is a natural part of growing up. I have two, soon to be three kids independent and driving, can I even call them kids now? Behind them are three, full of attitude, fifteen year old’s. Expecting them all to say “yes please Mum” when I suggest going to the beach is a big ask and I respect this. That said if just one teen fancies joining me then I’m thrilled. I’ve learnt to take this as a positive and not to dwell on the ones who, for whatever reason, would rather do something else without me.
When I was faced with three of my kids and one girlfriend joining me on a sunny Sunday afternoon I thought I’d just won Mum of the year!
The beach brings out the child in us all
We rocked up in a mix of the eldest’s car and my soft top. The sun was shining, spirits were high and spotting the advance party the kids all bonded over a game of beach rugby.
Ice cream treats
They were soon hot and bothered and asking if I’d brought a drink. It was a spontaneous thing and I hadn’t brought anything so I treated them to money to spend at the ice cream van. This was something I never allowed when they were young. With 6 children to pay for I always brought a picnic and the highlight was stopping for a multipack of ice creams at Tesco on the way home. In fact we fondly reminisced about the excitement this brought.
Water sports you never grow out of
Revived the kids headed for the sea, one in my wetsuit having refused to bring his own claiming he wouldn’t go in the water anyway!
While the kids swam I sunbathed in the sheltered rocks and enjoyed a spot of people watching. Usually I’d be in the water with them, but I had just given my wetsuit away and in any case I was rather enjoying just sitting in the sun and watching them, something I never do.
Two cars gave us flexibility on the way back, most headed off with the eldest, but Jed accompanied me on a coastal hike round to the headland. It is such a pretty stretch of coastpath. The chance for some one on one time is a big bonus.
Everyone enjoyed the few hours off and we rounded the day off with a garden BBQ with the rest of the family. I am thrilled that teen time out with Mum still has its place.
Tips for coaxing teens to join in a beach trip.
Have siblings, friends or partners too
Give them independence, not everything has to be together when you are there. We often travel in 2 cars for added flexibility.
Don’t expect them to be too grown up, mine still arrive and complain they are thirsty or hungry expecting me to have packed something
Do treat them, nothing big, just a sign you are pleased they came along. An ice cream on the beach was all it took with mine.
Don’t expect to be introduced to friends they see there. Mine only told me afterwards about others from school they saw and teachers, and that’s fine. I know my place as an embarrassing parent!
Remind them about sun cream and hats but don’t nag them, eventually they will learn the hard way.
Do have a laugh and a joke with them. This is usually this is at my expense, but I don’t mind that at all. This time I had my shorts borrowed, my wetsuit borrowed and my changing robe borrowed. I had just my bikini left to call my own to great amusement by them all!
Do keep it casual and don’t appear to watch over them, which of course you will do, after all you will always be Mum however old they get!
Try an evening beach trip with a campfire and swim as an alternative. We love to do this on warm summer evenings.
Appreciate the time together and tell them so after.
If you don’t have a local beach, there are plenty of other casual family days out that you may have loved when the kids were younger which would actually work well with a little adjustment as they get older. Woodland walks and Wetland centers spring to mind but I’m sure there are lots more places too.
Here at Coombe Mill we love to work with nature. Our activity hour in high season is usually based around nature crafts and building on educational topics in the great outdoors. Lonely Planet Kids have come out with a wonderful book packed with all the wild things we love to create here and lots more ideas too. It is a great resource with over 100 wild activities kids of all ages will enjoy. Read on to discover more and for your chance to win a copy.
More about Wild Things
This beautiful glossy book is wonderfully illustrated and packed with ideas that can be created just as suggested or embellished. From fairies to monsters, day time to night time, there is a way to make nature and fantasy come alive for everyone combining nature with everyday household bits and bobs and a good dose of imagination.
We know just how much children love to make pretty wands, crowns and equally how brewing up a good potion in a cauldron appeals to others. Have you tried writing with wild ink and stick pens? All these things and more we love here at Coombe Mill and how to do them is covered in this inspiring book.
What we love
Promotes a love of the outdoors
Gets kids excited about nature
Unleashes kids inner creativity and imagination
Beautifully written and illustrated
Activities are uncomplicated and fun to create or embellish
A great resource to come back to time and time again
The year continues with so much happening here, I can’t wait to fill you in on the exciting news from the month and share some of the events coming up for June I think you’ll enjoy. Have a scan through, there’s sure to be something to catch your eye.
Booking with us
We have very few summer holiday spaces left now, but if you can come week commencing 17th or 24th August you could still be lucky. Outside of this June, early July and September still has some availability and some cracking prices, so pop on over to check them out if these weeks or short breaks work for you.
Our Den building zone was created around 5 years ago. It has been greatly enjoyed by the children here who have rebuilt and created in there week after week. However the large structural branches had begun to rot out and break and the whole area needed a rethink.
Spare branches are not hard to come by here and farmer Nick gathered a whole new set which we used during an exciting Activity hour to recreate the den building area on the site of the old bug hotel. The bugs never used their purpose built space, preferring to house themselves under the fairies toadstools! The space was perfect for a fire pit and den building zone. We enjoyed a happy afternoon building the first camp there and making garlic bread from wild garlic along the river bank on the fire pit. It is now ready for children to enjoy and redesign to their hearts content.
Over the other end of the farm, the zip wire wooden cross beams suffered a structural split. This has always been popular with the children and Farmer Nick wasted no time in ordering up new wood to rebuild this. It took a little help from our older kids to help him lift everything into place, but it is now up and running again. Now everyone can enjoy a safe ride with the added feature of a non slip starting platform.
I had the pleasure of being the first to test ride it and ensure it the wire was correctly tightened for the perfect ride.
On the Farm
This month has been all about new arrivals with nature’s usual tale of winners and losers.
Last month I mentioned we had been keeping the chickens indoors as Toulouse the goose was incubating her eggs in their outdoor field shelter. Sadly it turned out all the eggs were in fact infertile. The chickens are now enjoying free ranging for the summer and Farmer Nick is looking for a new Gander for Toulouse.
Christmas the Turkey on the other hand hatched 2 live chicks from her clutch of eggs. Despite placing Christmas and her chicks in a lovely safe indoor house with plenty of bedding, food and water she lost both chicks in the first week leaving us stumped as to the cause. Our little day old Lavender Pekin chicks on the other hand are all thriving to the delight of the guests.
Scruffy has babies
I was feeling quite sorry for Scruffy the guinea pig towards the end of her pregnancy, she was looking twice her normal width and I knew she was carrying a few. Turns out we have 3 little mini me’s running round the guinea pig house. Unlike rabbits they are born looking perfectly formed with eyes open and fur. Scruffy has her work cut out now keeping the inquisitive little ones under control. Scruffy and babies.
What no antlers!
Out in the deer field Rudolph has shed his antlers for summer. We went on a hunt and found the first. The following day he did a hop skip and a jump right in front of us on the morning animal feed run and dropped the second. That was a once in a lifetime sight we’ll possibly never witness again.
Remember I said we had a full house of boy piglets again this year? Well it turns out that was just a case of trying to sex them too young. In fact they are fairly evenly split. In an attempt to wean the boys and separate them from mum, Nick thought they might enjoy some of the beautiful May sunshine in the “Sin bin” field. The piglets were in heaven, but they were churning the field into a soup before our eyes therefore their time there had to be limited. Chasing them back in to the pig sty on concrete was amusing to watch! They are now looking to be re-homed so that Sally and the girls have more space for the summer. Anyone want a piglet?
That brings us up to date with events on the farm this month. We are looking forward to the arrival of fawns in June and enjoying the lovely long evenings which are perfect for BBQs, watching the kids out playing and sipping wine in the beautiful gardens here. There are also some great family Cornish events June 2019 locally we think you might like. Which will be your favourite?
What’s on Guide Cornish Events June 2019
Events June 2019
Find out more
Distance from Coombe Mill
Music by the River with Silver band,food, drink and kids activities
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.